Dear Forestry Commission,
I am writing to request the following information if you hold it:-
1 - Information about the number of felling licenses issued each year from 2012-2017 to either Sheffield City Council or AMEY in relation to the Streets Ahead contract, which has resulted in the recent felling or planned of at least 2147 mature trees from Sheffield's highways.
2 - If no felling licenses have been issued that mention the streets ahead contract, then please provide details of the number of felling licences issued to Sheffield City Council or Amey for the felling of any trees located on any highways in the Sheffield City Council area since 2012.
3 - Copies of any felling licenses issued to Sheffield City Council or Amey for any felling that falls into the categories of points 1 or 2, or a sample of 10 such licenses per year if the number of licenses is too numerous.
4 - If it is not possible to determine whether felling licenses issued were for the felling of trees on the highway in Sheffield, then please provide copies or details of any felling licenses issued to Sheffield City Council or Amey for the felling of mature trees in the Sheffield City Council area.
5 - Copies of any correspondence between either Sheffield City Council or Amey, and the Forestry Commission relating to possible exemptions from the requirement for either party to obtain felling licenses from the Forestry Commission for the felling of any or all of the above mentioned mature trees in Sheffield between 2010-17.
For background information, Sheffield CIty Council have contracted AMEY via a 25 year PFI contract that covers all highway related works including street tree maintenance. Under this contract over 6000 mature highway trees are intended to be felled, with 2147 confirmed as having been felled by April 2017, many for causing relatively minor damage to curbstones or similar minor impacts.
A CAVAT valuation carried out by campaigners with the aid of professional tree officers has valued the trees lost or planned to be lost this year at £65,600,000, with the net loss once the replacement of these trees by saplings has been taken into account being £59,600,000.
The vast majority of these fellings should have required a felling license to have been issued by the Forestry Commission.
There is a high degree of public interest in this felling program in Sheffield, with daily protests being mounted by residents opposed to the felling, and several court cases having been fought over the issue.
I therefore feel that there is a clear public interest in determining whether or not this felling has been carried out lawfully with the appropriate felling licenses having been granted by the Forestry Commission, as well as any guidance provided by the Forestry Commission that would indicate if the Forestry Commission felt that such licenses were not required and if so on what basis.
Sheffield City Council reasonings for approving each felling, along with the locations of the trees involved can be found at the links found on this page.
I look forward to your response.
If no such felling licenses have been issued, and no advice given that these licenses were not required then I'd ask that this information be forwarded to your legal department along with a request that appropriate prosecutions be brought, and a cease and desist order be issued against both Sheffield City Council and Amey.
Dear Mr Andrews
I am confirming receipt of your request for information.
Parliamentary and Information Rights Officer | Director England’s Office |
Forestry Commission England
+ 620 Bristol Business Park | Coldharbour Lane | Bristol | BS16 1EJ
( 0300 067 4264
: [email address]
Thanks for the acknowledgement, if you require any additional information to enable you to process this FOI request please ask and I'll do my best to assist.
Dear Mr Andrews
Please find attached to this email the Forestry Commission’s response to your request, along with the information that I judge to fall within scope of your request.